The Thanksgiving countdown is on. I have put together my checklist for preparing my dinner for Thursday’s dinner. Some of my dishes and desserts from last year’s meal.
Weekend Before Thanksgiving
- Determine which side dishes, additional meat and desserts.
- Make a shopping list (include all food and baking items).
- If you are buying paper products to serve dinner, I found the Chinet brand has a platter size plate for a sturdy paper product. Definitely, choose a brand that is sturdy, leakproof and large enough to hold a full dinner.
- I purchase my dinner rolls and store in freezer (this keeps them fresh until Thursday).
- Check shelves for spices, seasonings, extracts (also check the expiration dates and toss out if expired), add to shopping list.
- Determine what size turkey based on the number of guests ( I usually buy a frozen turkey. Just keep in mind you have to allow enough days for a frozen turkey to thaw in the refrigerator.
- I store my frozen turkey in the coldest section of the refrigerator to thaw.
2 days before Thanksgiving
- Add any missed items to shopping list(i.e. butter, more eggs, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, etc).
- I purchased my vegetables.
Day before Thanksgiving
- Bake my desserts ( sweet potato pie is a MUST, my baking hack is to purchase Marie Callender’s deep dish pie crust) I have rolled my own crust but to save time a good quality frozen pie crusts works well too.
- Bake my cornbread for dressing. Saute onion, celery and pepper.
- Prepare my side dishes (including my dressing), refrigerate and bake on Thanksgiving.
- Prepare vegetables, store in containers and refrigerate.
- Thoroughly rinse, discard waste, prep, season and slather turkey with oil. Roast in the oven for the designated number of hours based on pounds. I like to insert veggies in the cavity of the turkey. (usually a few stalks of celery and a medium onion). Baste a few times during cooking time. I try to keep the door shut for most of the baking time so the oven temperature stays consistent. *I still keep my turkey in the oven for another 30-45 minutes after the thermometer pops out. I also turn over my turkey to brown on the bottom. Store in the refrigerator until next day.
- *If making fresh cranberry sauce, I prepare the day before so it can chill and the added citrus flavor blends well in the sauce. Now if you are using canned, a trick I learned from my mom is to mix a can of whole cranberry sauce and a can of jellied cranberry sauce. Chill in a container and serve at dinner.
Thanksgiving, 1-2 hours before dinner
- Preheat oven at 325-350
- Bake side dishes (45mins- 1hr)
- Warm vegetables on low.
- Heat gravy (low simmer)-another hack purchase my favorite brand. No fuss with worrying about making perfect gravy.
- Thaw dinner rolls and warm in oven for about 5-8 minutes before dinner
- Warm the turkey in the oven for about 30 minutes! Baste with the stock. Slice off legs and wings and assemble on the side of my platter. Carve the white meat for the center of the platter. Transfer to a platter and carve and serve on a platter.
- Don’t forget the cranberry sauce!
- Assembly all the plates, utensils, napkins, side dishes, meats, on a table for buffet style.
Big Chill, retro and professional kitchen appliance manufacturer provided a cool infographic for Thanksgiving. “10 Tips & Tricks for a Harmonious Thanksgiving” for you to print!